December 3, 2005

Positivity: Delhi (India) blast hero dreams of driving a bus again

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:11 am

A national hero struggling towards recovery has lots of people rooting for him:

He became a national hero when he saved dozens of lives in an instant when a series of bombs rocked New Delhi a month ago, but as he lies in hospital, Kuldip Singh just wants to drive buses again.

Blind and partially deaf, and still writhing in pain, Singh faces an uphill battle to reclaim his life.

At least 66 people were killed by the explosions, two of which ripped through weekend markets buzzing with festival shoppers. The third was planted in Singh’s bus, but the driver’s quick thinking prevented a worse tragedy.

On October 29, Singh, 28, was on his last run, driving a bus packed with at least 80 people and loaded with nine gas cylinders, when a passenger from the back shouted: “Bomb, there’s a bomb on the bus!”

“I immediately pulled over and asked everyone to get off,” Singh said from his hospital bed.

“Within seconds the bus was empty. Then I saw a small box — like the one a cable guy carries. It had three wires — red, blue and green — and a timer.

“First I thought I should take off the red wire like they do in films, but decided against it,” he said.

“I took the box out of the bus and placed it on the side. I turned and then I don’t remember what happened.”

Just as Singh was backing away, the bomb exploded. Both his eyes and ears were badly damaged and his right arm was severely injured. He can faintly hear from one ear but, despite an operation, he can scarcely use his eyes at all.

“Can you see me?” his uncle asked, standing barely inches from him.

Singh only swayed his head. “I can only see a shadow.”

Rewards and compensation have poured in for Singh, but for the low-paid driver they mean nothing.

“I want my eyes back. I want to drive my bus again,” he said.

The Delhi Police, which formed a special team to track the bombers, have so far arrested three people, including one from Srinagar who, they claim, was the main coordinator and facilitator.

But they say the bombers are probably still at large.

“We are not worried but we are definitely concerned,” said Anita Roy, a senior Delhi Police officer who was at the site of the first blast within minutes.

At least 200 people were injured in the blasts. Many bodies were charred beyond recognition, and several relatives fought over remains which could only be identified by DNA tests.

The government told parliament on Tuesday that at least 10 people were still missing and media reports said three mutilated bodies were lying in a hospital morgue, awaiting claimants.


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